When Samuel Chiu joined the A Rocha team in 2010, with his role as Multicultural Program Director reaching out to the Asian Christian communities in Canada, he was breaking new ground.
Since then he has been advocating for creation care among these multi-cultural communities, with a particular focus in the Chinese-speaking groups. While introducing and connecting A Rocha’s projects in BC and Ontario to these communities through meetings with pastors and leaders from churches and organizations, he designs and delivers seminars series, sermons, and curricula for churches (by invitations) and at regional and national conferences. While he develops these teaching materials, with the biblical understanding that “creation care is a gospel issue under the Lordship of Jesus Christ” (Lausanne Movement’s Cape Town Commitment, Part 7), two different audiences are in focus. On the one hand, there are folks who do not see caring for God’s creation, even though being a commendable concept, as a Christian concern and require us to respond in repentance, transformation of mind and life, and direct actions. On the other hand, there are also those who are convinced that creation care is an important Christian issue and have already turned that conviction into action, yet still do not understand the connection between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and these convictions and actions.
While working in Canada, Samuel also joined the International Team part-time to coordinate A Rocha’s outreach projects in the Asia-Pacific region, where there is yet to be any A Rocha projects officially. Through teaching and preaching in churches and seminars, bringing our regional contacts together, inspiring local action groups to be formed, and helping these groups and networks to think through how they might put their convictions into practice, Samuel is helping to nurture creation movements. In Singapore, the small community group undertakes a bi-monthly amphibian diversity survey in urban parks. In the Philippines, there are two well-established groups keen to reconnect with A Rocha. He is also in dialogue with small groups in Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Taipei.
On top of connecting, facilitating, and teaching, Samuel is translating the creation care message. He saw that there was an absence of creation care reading materials in the common written languages. Three years ago, he started working on translating the book Planetwise, written by Dave Bookless, founding director of A Rocha UK and currently Theology Director of A Rocha International. The Chinese edition was published in mid 2015 by a prominent Christian publisher in Taiwan after sixteen months of intensive works. It has been well received in many places, with reading groups formed in Hong Kong, Taipei, Vancouver and Toronto. Preachers began to preach about creation care after reading it. It is the hope that this translated edition would not only lead to other Asian language editions, but also stimulate more quality materials on creation care by indigenous scholars and writers in the regions.
Augmenting his A Rocha work, Samuel recently became a licensed Official Worker with the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) in Canada, the denomination he has been associated with since the early 1990s, with a specific role to foster conversations and engagement on creation care within the churches the wider Canadian and International community. This arrangement is the result of a partnership agreement between A Rocha Canada and that denomination. It means that, from the denominational perspective, Samuel is serving in the ministry of creation care on behalf of the denomination, while still a full member of A Rocha’s teams. This is certainly an affirmation of not only Samuel’s ministry in advocating for creation care, but also creation care as an important Christian ministry, opening up future possibilities for A Rocha and other organizations.
Samuel has taken on a coordinating role for the upcoming East Asia Regional Conference on Creation Care and the Gospel to be held in Taiwan in July 2017. Representatives from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, mainland China, Hong Kong and other neighbouring regions will join together to connect and mobilize creation care movements in the regions.